Radio hosts Matt Jelly and Jamie “Gunner” Smith are bringing their show to a new neighbourhood.
Jelly and Smith host “In the Neighbourhood” on 93.9 CFMU. On Tuesday, they’ll abandon their usual post at the university studio and broadcast from Gore Park.
The duo is using the outdoor show to gather food and raise awareness for Hamilton’s food banks, which end up chronically short on donations in summer months.
“There’s hunger all year round,” Smith told CBC Hamilton. “It’s not enough to just talk about it — if you’re able to help someone, you should.”
During the broadcast, Jelly and Smith will be collecting non-perishable food items for donation to the Welcome Inn Community Food Bank in Hamilton’s North End.
According to Hamilton Food Share, over 18,000 people per month use food banks, and over 8,000 of those are under the age of 18.
Jelly is no stranger to the subject — he’s been a fixture for successful food drives at Art Crawl during the summer months.
Though an outdoor show can be unpredictable, Smith says he doesn’t think they'll run into any unforeseen problems broadcasting from the downtown core.
He says the media is the biggest perpetrator in creating the negative way some people view the core of their city.
“Sure, there’s the possibility someone there could be in their underwear,” he laughed. “But I was a tour manager for rock bands for years. There’s nothing Hamilton can throw at me that would frighten or shock me.”
He says Hamiltonians need to abandon the notion that their downtown is a scary place.
“It’s really no different for colourful characters than any other city,” he said.
Aside from the short term (but necessary) push to replenish food bank shelves, Smith says the main point of the broadcast is to raise awareness of their plight.
“People are always going to need this help year-round.”
Listeners can drop off non-perishables any time between 8 a.m. and noon in Gore Park Tuesday, at the big blue canopy tent.
You can tune in to “In the Neighbourhood” at 8 a.m. Tursday on 93.3 FM or online at cfmu.mcmaster.ca.